The following is an open letter from Ontario PC MPP Ernie Hardeman to Minister of Health Eric Hoskins.
June 13, 2017
Hon. Eric Hoskins
Minister of Health and Long-term Care
Hepburn Block 10th Flr, 80 Grosvenor St,
Toronto, ON M7A 2C4
Dear Minister Hoskins,
The people of my riding – and across Ontario – were horrified to learn about the egregious actions taken by Elizabeth Wettlaufer that took the lives of eight innocent people. It has left so many Ontarians seriously concerned about their loved ones, and demanding answers about accountability in our health care system.
Questions such as:
How did the deaths of the eight seniors could go unnoticed for so long? Why was Wettlaufer never sanctioned by the Ontario College of Nurses, as reported in the Toronto Star on June 12, 2017:
“The college, after all, was informed 30 months earlier that Wettlaufer had been fired from a nursing home for putting the life of a patient at risk. Yet she continued to work — and kill — as a fully licensed registered nurse.”
And further to that, why were red flags not raised in 2014, as reported in a Global News report on June 1, 2017:
“Wettlaufer also told a lawyer about everything in 2014, who advised her it was in her best interests to stay silent, court heard. The former nurse also told many other friends and acquaintances about killing patients with insulin, some took her seriously and told police, but most didn’t tell authorities, or believed she was lying, court heard.”
How was Elizabeth Wettlaufer able to continue practicing, seemingly without any investigation, after her medication errors were identified by the first long-term care home and reported to the College of Nurses?
Why did it take so long for your government to make a legislative change to give the College of Nurses the legal right to restrict or suspend a nurse without first completing an investigation? Particularly when the College of Nurses was advocating for this legal right?
Members of our community, including the friends and family of the victims, are asking for a public inquiry to get answers on what happened and ensure that this cannot happen again.
Minister, I ask you to provide the steps that you are taking to investigate how a nurse was able to take the lives of eight vulnerable seniors within the long-term care system where they are supposed to be protected.
The public deserves a full investigation by the Ontario Government which includes all the related organizations.
Given the seriousness of this situation I ask that you respond within two weeks, by June 27th, to detail the investigation you are conducting.
The people of Oxford – and across Ontario – need assurances that your government will not simply ignore the problems that have been identified, but instead will properly investigate and address them.
Ernie Hardeman, MPP